Racing wildfire engulfs homes in California town

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California wildfires -- updated 9/24/2014
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Racing wildfire engulfs homes in California town
The sun sets over smoke-filled mountains, west of Reno, Nev. on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. Crews in California have been fighting the King Fire, east of Sacramento, which is threatening thousands of homes and prompting "dense smoke advisories" across the region. (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)
The sun sets over smoke-filled mountains, west of Reno, Nev. on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. Crews in California have been fighting the King Fire, east of Sacramento, which is threatening thousands of homes and prompting "dense smoke advisories" across the region. (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)
The sun sets over smoke-filled mountains, west of Reno, Nevada on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. Crews in California have been fighting the King Fire, east of Sacramento, which is threatening thousands of homes and prompting "dense smoke advisories" across the region. (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)
A firefighters sets a controlled burn with a drip torch while fighting the King Fire on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, in Mosquito, Calif. Strike teams from Fresno and El Dorado Cal Fire worked in conjunction with department of corrections crews in an offensive firing tactic, intended to take away fuel from the main fire. Nearly 2,000 firefighters were added Tuesday to battle the wildfire threatening thousands of homes, in anticipation of erratic winds and hotter temperatures that could undo their progress. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Flames from a controlled burn engulf a hillside as a firefighter watches while fighting the King Fire on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, in Mosquito, Calif. Strike teams from Fresno and El Dorado Cal Fire worked in conjunction with department of corrections crews in an offensive firing tactic, intended to take away fuel from the main fire. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A firefighter with the Gabilan Camp crew hoses down hot spots during a controlled burn to fight the King Fire on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, near Placerville, Calif. Crews scrambled Monday to extend control lines around a massive Northern California wildfire threatening thousands of homes as they braced for strong, erratic winds similar to when the blaze doubled in size a week ago. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A firefighter hoses down hot spots while fighting the King Fire on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, in Mosquito, Calif. Strike teams from Fresno and El Dorado Cal Fire worked in conjunction with department of corrections crews in an offensive firing tactic, intended to take away fuel from the main fire. Nearly 2,000 firefighters were added Tuesday to battle the massive Northern California wildfire threatening thousands of homes, in anticipation of erratic winds and hotter temperatures that could undo their progress. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Firefighters hold the line with water hoses during a controlled burn while fighting the King Fire on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, in Mosquito, Calif. Strike teams from Fresno and El Dorado Cal Fire worked in conjunction with department of corrections crews in an offensive firing tactic, intended to take away fuel from the main fire. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A firefighter hoses down hot spots while fighting the King Fire on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, in Mosquito, Calif. Strike teams from Fresno and El Dorado Cal Fire worked in conjunction with department of corrections crews in an offensive firing tactic, intended to take away fuel from the main fire. Nearly 2,000 firefighters were added Tuesday to battle the massive Northern California wildfire threatening thousands of homes, in anticipation of erratic winds and hotter temperatures that could undo their progress. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Firefighters hold the line along a containment area while fighting the King Fire on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, in Mosquito, Calif. Strike teams from Fresno and El Dorado Cal Fire worked in conjunction with department of corrections crews in an offensive firing tactic, intended to take away fuel from the main fire. Nearly 2,000 firefighters were added Tuesday to battle the massive wildfire threatening thousands of homes, in anticipation of erratic winds and hotter temperatures that could undo their progress. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Tim Flaherty, of the Fresno, Calif., Cal Fire crew, takes a break from lighting a mountain side with a drip torch while fighting the King Fire on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, in Mosquito, Calif. Nearly 2,000 firefighters were added Tuesday to battle the massive Northern California wildfire threatening thousands of homes, in anticipation of erratic winds and hotter temperatures that could undo their progress. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Fishermen and joggers continued to enjoy the Sparks Marina just east of Reno, Nev., on Tuesday morning, Sept. 23, 2014, despite a smoky haze that continues to drift in from California's King Fire nearly 100 miles away. For the second day in a row, the National Weather Service issued a ``dense smoke advisory'' for much of the Sierra's eastern front and air quality moved in and out of the unhealthy range. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner).
The King Fire descends from a mountain on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, in Mosquito, Calif. Nearly 2,000 firefighters were added Tuesday to battle a massive Northern California wildfire threatening thousands of homes in anticipation of erratic winds and hotter temperatures that could undo their progress. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Fire chief Barry Bierman, of the Sonoma Lake Napa Unit Cal Fire crew, communicates through a radio while fighting the King Fire on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, in Mosquito, Calif. Nearly 2,000 firefighters were added Tuesday to battle a massive Northern California wildfire threatening thousands of homes in anticipation of erratic winds and hotter temperatures that could undo their progress. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A firefighter is surrounded by smoke while fighting the King Fire on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, in Mosquito, Calif. Nearly 2,000 firefighters were added Tuesday to battle a massive Northern California wildfire threatening thousands of homes in anticipation of erratic winds and hotter temperatures that could undo their progress. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Gary Dahlen, center, of Gettysburg, Pa., a helicopter pilot with Helicopter Express, receives a certificate from US Forest Service dept. official Philip Ketel, right, for Dahlen's efforts in fighting the King Fire on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, in Placerville, Calif. Kehtel rescued 12 stranded firefighters being threatened by incoming flames by landing at a nearby field and flying them away from danger. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A firefighter with the Gabilan Camp crew hoses down hot spots during a controlled burn to fight the King Fire on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, near Placerville, Calif. Crews scrambled Monday to extend control lines around a massive Northern California wildfire threatening thousands of homes as they braced for strong, erratic winds similar to when the blaze doubled in size a week ago. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Firefighters with the Gabilan Camp crew hose down hot spots during a controlled burn to fight the King Fire on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, near Placerville, Calif. Crews scrambled Monday to extend control lines around a massive Northern California wildfire threatening thousands of homes as they braced for strong, erratic winds similar to when the blaze doubled in size a week ago. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A firefighter from the Gabilan Camp crew hoses down hot spots during a controlled burn to fight the King Fire on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, near Placerville, Calif. Crews scrambled Monday to extend control lines around a massive Northern California wildfire threatening thousands of homes as they braced for strong, erratic winds similar to when the blaze doubled in size a week ago. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Firefighters from the Tuolumne-Calaveras county fire dept. hose down hot spots along a containment line during a controlled burn to fight the King Fire on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, near Placerville, Calif. Crews scrambled Monday to extend control lines around a massive Northern California wildfire threatening thousands of homes as they braced for strong, erratic winds similar to when the blaze doubled in size a week ago. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Firefighters from the Tuolumne-Calaveras county fire dept. and Gabilan Camp crew hose down hot spots along a containment line during a controlled burn to fight the King Fire on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, near Placerville, Calif. Crews scrambled Monday to extend control lines around a massive Northern California wildfire threatening thousands of homes as they braced for strong, erratic winds similar to when the blaze doubled in size a week ago. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A firefighter walks along the containment line during a controlled burn to fight the King Fire on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, near Placerville, Calif. Crews scrambled Monday to extend control lines around a massive Northern California wildfire threatening thousands of homes as they braced for strong, erratic winds similar to when the blaze doubled in size a week ago. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A firefighter from the Tuolumne-Calaveras county fire dept. walks along a containment line during a controlled burn to fight the King Fire on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, near Placerville, Calif. Crews scrambled Monday to extend control lines around a massive Northern California wildfire threatening thousands of homes as they braced for strong, erratic winds similar to when the blaze doubled in size a week ago. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Firefighters with the Gabilan Camp crew monitor hot spots during a controlled burn to fight the King Fire on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, near Placerville, Calif. Crews scrambled Monday to extend control lines around a massive Northern California wildfire threatening thousands of homes as they braced for strong, erratic winds similar to when the blaze doubled in size a week ago. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Firefighters from the Tuolumne-Calaveras county fire dept. walk along a containment line during a controlled burn to fight the King Fire on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, near Placerville, Calif. Crews scrambled Monday to extend control lines around a massive Northern California wildfire threatening thousands of homes as they braced for strong, erratic winds similar to when the blaze doubled in size a week ago. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Firefighters from the Tuolumne-Calaveras county fire dept. walk along a containment line during a controlled burn to fight the King Fire on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, near Placerville, Calif. Crews scrambled Monday to extend control lines around a massive Northern California wildfire threatening thousands of homes as they braced for strong, erratic winds similar to when the blaze doubled in size a week ago. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A firefighter with the Gabilan Camp crew hoses down hot spots during a controlled burn to fight the King Fire on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, near Placerville, Calif. Crews scrambled Monday to extend control lines around a massive Northern California wildfire threatening thousands of homes as they braced for strong, erratic winds similar to when the blaze doubled in size a week ago. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Firefighters with the Gabilan Camp crew are surrounded by smoke while looking out for hot spots during a controlled burn to fight the King Fire on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, near Placerville, Calif. Crews scrambled Monday to extend control lines around a massive Northern California wildfire threatening thousands of homes as they braced for strong, erratic winds similar to when the blaze doubled in size a week ago. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Firefighter Cameron Andersen, of the US Forest Service, pours water on burning embers while clearing hot spots of the King fire in the El Dorado National Forest near Georgetown, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014. More than 3,500 firefighters from various agencies are battling the blaze that started Saturday and has burned more than 70,000 acres.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Firefighters from the US Forest Service, pours clean up hot spots of the King fire in the El Dorado National Forest near Georgetown, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014. More than 3,500 firefighters from various agencies are battling the blaze that started Saturday and has burned more than 70,000 acres.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Wayne Allen Huntsman, right, appears in the El Dorado Superior Court with Public Defender William Dittman for charges related to the King Fire, in Placerville, Calif., Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Huntsman pleaded not guilty to an arson charge. He was being held on $10 million bail after authorities said he started the blaze. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
A firefighter puts water flames approaching a containment line, while fighting the King fire near Fresh Pond, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014. Authorities arrested Wayne Allen Huntsman, 37, Wednesday and have charged him with deliberately starting the Northern California wildfire that has burned more than 70,000 acres and is only 5 percent contained.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Firefighters take pictures with their call phones as they monitor a backfire while battling the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Embers swirl around firefighters as they monitor a backfire while battling the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
WEED, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: The remains of a home destroyed by the Boles Fire is shown in front of Mount Shasta on September 16, 2014 in Weed, California. Fueled by high winds, a fast-moving wildfire swept through the town of Weed yesterday afternoon, burning 100 structures that included the high school and a lumber mill. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
WEED, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: A doorway stands in the remains of a home destroyed by the Boles Fire on September 16, 2014 in Weed, California. Fueled by high winds, a fast-moving wildfire swept through the town of Weed yesterday afternoon, burning 100 structures that included the high school and a lumber mill. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
WEED, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: A burned utility pole rests on a burned-out car that sits among the remains of a destroyed home on September 16, 2014 in Weed, California. Fueled by high winds, a fast-moving wildfire swept through the town of Weed yesterday afternoon, burning 100 structures that included the high school and a lumber mill. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Firefighters battle a wall of flames from the King fire near Fresh Pond Fresh Pond, Calif., Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. The blaze that started Sunday has consumed more than 18,000 acres and is only 5 percent contained.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Firefighters battle the flames from the King fire near Fresh Pond, Calif., Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. The blaze that started Sunday has consumed more than 18,000 acres and is only 5 percent contained. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Smoke rises from the King fire as a firefighter looks for hot spots near Fresh Pond, Calif., Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. The blaze that started Sunday has consumed more than 18,000 acres and is only 5 percent contained.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Firefighters monitor a backfire as they battle the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A firefighter uses a drip torch to start a backfire as he battles the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A firefighter uses a drip torch to start a backfire as he battles the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Firefighters monitor a backfire as they battle the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A firefighter uses a drip torch to start a backfire as he battles the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Firefighters monitor a backfire as they battle the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Firefighters monitor a backfire as they battle the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Embers swirl around a firefighter as he monitors a backfire while battling the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A firefighter uses a drip torch to start a backfire as he battles the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A firefighter monitors a backfire as she battles the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A firefighter throws a flare to start a backfire as he battles the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Firefighters monitor a backfire as they battle the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Firefighters monitor a backfire as they battle the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A firefighter uses a drip torch to start a backfire as he battles the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A firefighter monitors a backfire as he battles the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A firefighter monitors a backfire as he battles the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A firefighter blows out his drip torch after setting a backfire as he battles the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Firefighters monitor a backfire as they battle the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A firefighter pulls hose into place to monitor a backfire as he battles the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A firefighter uses a drip torch to start a backfire as he battles the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A backfire burns trees as firefighters battle the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A firefighter monitors a backfire as he battles the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A firefighter hoses down hot spots as she monitors a backfire while battling the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A firefighter uses a drip torch to start a backfire as he battles the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Firefighters monitor a backfire as they battle the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Firefighters monitor a backfire as they battle the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Firefighters monitor a backfire as they battle the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A firefighter monitors a backfire as he battles the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A firefighter monitors the King Fire as it burns through brush on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A firefighter monitors the King Fire as it burns through brush on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A firefighter monitors the King Fire as it burns through brush on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A firefighter monitors the King Fire as it burns through brush on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A firefighter monitors the King Fire as it burns through brush on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Firefighters monitor the King Fire as it burns through brush on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A firefighter monitors the King Fire as it burns through brush on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A firefighter monitors the King Fire as it burns through brush on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FRESH POND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Flames from the King Fire consumes trees on September 17, 2014 in Fresh Pond, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
POLLOCK PINES, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Firefighters monitor the King Fire on September 17, 2014 in Pollock Pines, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Cal Fire strike crews battle the King fire in El Dorado County, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. (Randall Benton/Sacramento Bee/MCT via Getty Images)
Cal Fire strike crews battle the King fire in El Dorado County, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. (Randall Benton/Sacramento Bee/MCT via Getty Images)
POLLOCK PINES, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: The King Fire consumes trees on September 17, 2014 in Pollock Pines, California. The King fire is threatening over 1,600 homes in the forested area about an hour east of Sacramento and has consumed over 18,544 acres. The out of control fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Cal Fire strike crews battle the King fire in El Dorado County, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. (Randall Benton/Sacramento Bee/MCT via Getty Images)
WEED, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Kathy Besk (R) hugs CalFire firefighter Tommy Janow (L) after he found three of her rings in the burned-out ruins of her home on September 16, 2014 in Weed, California. Fueled by high winds, the fast-moving Boles Fire swept through the town of Weed yesterday, burning 100 structures that included the high school and a lumber mill. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The smoldering empty shell of a local library and a Head Start center are all that remain Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, the day after a wildfire swept through Weed, Calif. In just a few hours Monday, wind-driven flames destroyed or damaged roughly 100 homes, a saw mill and a church. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
WEED, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Kathy Besk holds three of her rings found by CalFire firefighters in the burned-out remains of her home on September 16, 2014 in Weed, California. Fueled by high winds, a fast-moving wildfire swept through the town of Weed yesterday afternoon, burning 100 structures that included the high school and a lumber mill. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Paul Stonecypher looks at the remains of his motorcycle, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, that was destroyed when a wildfire swept through his neighborhood destroying the house and garage in Weed, Calif. The intense blaze erupted Monday south of Weed. Winds gusting up to 40 mph pushed the flames into town, where they quickly chewed through a hillside neighborhood. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Water flows from a spigot from a home, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, that was destroyed by a wildfire in Weed, Calif. The intense blaze erupted Monday south of Weed. Winds gusting up to 40 mph pushed the flames into town, where they quickly chewed through a hillside neighborhood. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
A mailbox melted by the heat of a fire sits near a car Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, in Weed, Calif. The intense blaze erupted Monday south of Weed. Winds gusting up to 40 mph pushed the flames into town, where they quickly chewed through a hillside neighborhood. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
WEED, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: A firefighter monitors hot spots in the remains of a destroyed home on September 16, 2014 in Weed, California. Fueled by high winds, a fast-moving wildfire swept through the town of Weed yesterday afternoon, burning 100 structures that included the high school and a lumber mill. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
WEED, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: A firefighter wipes his eye as he hoses down hot spots in the remains of a destroyed home on September 16, 2014 in Weed, California. Fueled by high winds, a fast-moving wildfire swept through the town of Weed yesterday afternoon, burning 100 structures that included the high school and a lumber mill. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
WEED, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: A firefighter cools off hot spots in the remains of a destroyed home on September 16, 2014 in Weed, California. Fueled by high winds, a fast-moving wildfire swept through the town of Weed yesterday afternoon, burning 100 structures that included the high school and a lumber mill. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A jet aerial tanker drops its load of fire retardant on a fire near Pollack Pines, Calif., Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. The fire, which started Sunday has consumed more than 3,000 acres and forced the evacuation of dozens of homes. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Smoke from a wildfire rises into the sky near Pollack Pines, Calif., Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. The fire, which started Sunday has consumed more than 3,000 acres and forced the evacuation of dozens of homes. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
A Skycrane helicopter refills its tanks with water to battle the King Fire near Pollack Pines, Calif., Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. The fire, which started Sunday has consumed more than 3,000 acres and forced the evacuation of dozens of homes.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
A Skycrane helicopter drops its load of water on the King Fire near Pollack Pines, Calif., Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. The fire, which started Sunday has consumed more than 3,000 acres and forced the evacuation of dozens of homes.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
A jet aerial tanker drops its load of fire retardant on a fire near Pollack Pines, Calif., Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. The fire, which started Sunday has consumed more than 3,000 acres and forced the evacuation of dozens of homes.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
An aerial tanker drops its load of fire retardant on the fire near Pollack Pines, Calif., Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. The fire, which started Sunday has consumed more than 3,000 acres and forced the evacuation of dozens of homes.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Firefighter Jesse Hadorowski climbs up steep terrain while battling a fire near Pollack Pines, Calif., Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. The fire, which started Sunday has consumed more than 3,000 acres and forced the evacuation of dozens of homes.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Firefighter Randy Browning hoses down a hot spot of a fire near Pollack Pines, Calif., Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. The fire, which started Sunday has consumed more than 3,000 acres and forced the evacuation of dozens of homes.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Firefighters hose down hot spots of the King Fire near Pollack Pines, Calif., Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. The fire, which started Sunday has consumed more than 3,000 acres and forced the evacuation of dozens of homes. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Smoke and haze from a wildfire more than 50 miles away darkens the sky over a shopping center parking lot in Sparks, Nev., late Sunday afternoon, Sept. 14, 2014. The wildfire, about 60 miles east of Sacramento, forced the evacuation of 133 homes. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)
FILE - In this Aug. 25, 2013 file photo, firefighter A.J. Tevis watches the flames of the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, Calif. Keith Matthew Emerald was charged Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 with starting the state's third-largest wildfire, a 2013 blaze that charred hundreds of square miles of land in Yosemite National Park and the Stanislaus National Forest. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, file)
In thisMonday, Sept. 2, 2013 file photo provided by the U.S. Forest Service, firefighters stand watch near a controlled burn as they fight the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, Calif. The Northern California man charged with starting the largest wildfire in recorded history to sweep through the Sierra Nevada mountains has turned himself in to authorities. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Sacramento said Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, that Keith Matthew Emerald surrendered to U.S Marshals Service in Fresno. The 32-year-old is scheduled to appear in the afternoon in federal court for arraignment on a four-count indictment. (AP Photo/U.S. Forest Service, Mike McMillan)
160 evacuated from Calif. wildfire; haze over Reno http://t.co/jHW3iJO1tj http://t.co/63BQqAuTwT
SoCal wildfire: Cleveland National Forest fire now estimated at 200 acres. Live video: http://t.co/41hKhfecyK http://t.co/4bxcSjh4Xl
YOSEMITE NTL PARK, CA - SEPTEMBER 07: A tour group listens to a park ranger while the Meadow wildfire burns on September 7, 2014 in in Yosemite National Park, California. Almost 2,600 acres haved burned and trails in the area have been closed. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/Getty Images)
YOSEMITE NTL PARK, CA - SEPTEMBER 07: The Meadow wildfire burns on September 7, 2014 in in Yosemite National Park, California. Almost 2,600 acres haved burned and trails in the area have been closed. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/Getty Images)
Smoke from wildfires color the early morning sky at sunrise, Tuesday, Sepy. 9, 2014, at Yosemite National Park, Calif., in this view towards the Yosemite Valley from the western edge of the park. Fire officials have called in additional crews to help battle a blaze in the park that forced hikers to be evacuated and is now sending smoke into the park's famed valley. (AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)
YOSEMITE NTL PARK, CA - SEPTEMBER 07: A tour group listens to a park ranger while the Meadow wildfire burns on September 7, 2014 in in Yosemite National Park, California. Almost 2,600 acres haved burned and trails in the area have been closed. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/Getty Images)
YOSEMITE NTL PARK, CA - SEPTEMBER 07: The Meadow wildfire burns on September 7, 2014 in in Yosemite National Park, California. Almost 2,600 acres haved burned and trails in the area have been closed. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/Getty Images)
#santiagocanyon is on fire right now. We just seen a huge flame go up on the side of the mountain #southorangecounty #alisoviejo #thehillsarealive
A view of the fire here in OC. #wildfire #santiagocanyon http://t.co/AFbSLgE5Cd
#wildfire in #Santiagocanyon #ocfa #portolahills #OrangeCounty http://t.co/g0mYxwLPrD
@ABC7 Silverado Canyon #Fire in #OC #OrangeCounty #OCFA #News - View from Foothill Ranch http://t.co/CZBruRvRpt
A Firefighter puts water on a house fence during a wildfire Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in Carlsbad, Calif. More wildfires broke out Wednesday in San Diego County — threatening homes in Carlsbad and forcing the evacuations of military housing and an elementary school at Camp Pendleton — as Southern California is in the grip of a heat wave. (AP Photo)
A Firefighter puts water on a house fence during a wildfire Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in Carlsbad, Calif. More wildfires broke out Wednesday in San Diego County — threatening homes in Carlsbad and forcing the evacuations of military housing and an elementary school at Camp Pendleton — as Southern California is in the grip of a heat wave. (AP Photo)
Firefighters knock out a flare up where a brush fire roared through a section of San Diego's north county, Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in San Diego. Weather conditions that at least temporarily calmed allowed firefighters to gain ground early Wednesday on a pair of wildfires that forced thousands of residents to leave their homes. (AP Photo)
A firefighter pours water onto a fully engulfed home Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in Carlsbad, Calif. A brush fire Wednesday forced evacuation of thousands of people in the city of Carlsbad where at least two homes burned amid a Southern California heat wave that sparked several blazes. (AP Photo)
A fireman carries his shovel up a path as extreme winds bend the shrubbery behind him Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in San Diego. Winds estimated by fire personnel in excess of 50 mph are blowing through the area and causing flare ups from the fire that started yesterday. (AP Photo)
A Carlsbad,Calif. police officer turns traffic away as flames leap behind him Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in Carlsbad, Calif. Weather conditions that at least temporarily calmed allowed firefighters to gain ground early Wednesday on a pair of wildfires that forced thousands of residents to leave their homes. (AP Photo)
A fire truck send a powerful stream of water at a fully engulfed home as smoke rises from behind during a wildfire Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in Carlsbad, Calif. Carlsbad city officials said mandatory evacuations were in progress Wednesday, and more than 11,000 notices were sent to homes and businesses. (AP Photo)
A fireman drags a hose as smoke rises from a nearby wildfire Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in Carlsbad, Calif. Carlsbad city officials said mandatory evacuations were in progress Wednesday, and more than 11,000 notices were sent to homes and businesses. (AP Photo)
A home is fully engulfed in flames as a wildfire burns Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in Carlsbad, Calif. Carlsbad city officials said mandatory evacuations were in progress Wednesday, and more than 11,000 notices were sent to homes and businesses. (AP Photo)
A helicopter drops a fire retardant on a wild fire Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in Carlsbad, Calif. Wind-driven flames are threatening homes in the coastal city of Carlsbad, where officials have sent mandatory evacuation notices to more than 11,000 homes and businesses. (AP Photo)
Powerful streams of water mix with billowing smoke from a home as a wildfire burns Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in Carlsbad, Calif. Carlsbad city officials said mandatory evacuations were in progress Wednesday, and more than 11,000 notices were sent to homes and businesses. (AP Photo)
Raging wildfire in Orange County prompts evacuations (Mark Boster—Los Angeles Times/AP) http://t.co/mwPxG03wjZ http://t.co/ap5yfzIjgF
A wild fire burns toward a Aviara Oaks Middle School Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in Carlsbad, Calif. Wind-driven flames are threatening homes in the coastal city of Carlsbad, where officials have sent mandatory evacuation notices to more than 11,000 homes and businesses. (AP Photo)
A wildfire climbs a canyon toward homes Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in Carlsbad, Calif. More wildfires broke out Wednesday in San Diego County — threatening homes in Carlsbad and forcing the evacuations of military housing and an elementary school at Camp Pendleton — as Southern California is in the grip of a heat wave. (AP Photo)
Wildfire climbs a canyon toward homes Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in Carlsbad, Calif. More wildfires broke out Wednesday in San Diego County, threatening homes in Carlsbad and forcing the evacuations of military housing and an elementary school at Camp Pendleton , as Southern California is in the grip of a heat wave. (AP Photo)
A helicopter attacks a wildfire burning in the north county of San Diego Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in San Diego. Wildfires pushed by gusty winds chewed through canyons parched by California's drought, prompting evacuation orders for more than 20,000 homes on the outskirts of San Diego and another 1,200 homes and businesses in Santa Barbara County 250 miles to the north. (AP Photo)
A helicopter flies over burning vegetation as it nears homes Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in Carlsbad, Calif. More wildfires broke out Wednesday in San Diego County — threatening homes in Carlsbad and forcing the evacuations of military housing and an elementary school at Camp Pendleton — as Southern California is in the grip of a heat wave. (AP Photo)
Smoke rises as firefighters work in the brush as two fire fighting helicopters pass each other above one of the colossal homes of Fairbanks Ranch where a wild fire threatened homes Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in San Diego. (Wildfires pushed by gusty winds chewed through canyons parched by California’s drought, prompting evacuation orders for more than 20,000 homes on the outskirts of San Diego and another 1,200 homes and businesses in Santa Barbara County 250 miles to the north. (AP Photo)
Anthony Novom waters down smoldering vegetation surrounding his home in the Rancho Santa Fe neighborhood during a wildfire Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in San Diego. Wildfires pushed by gusty winds chewed through canyons parched by California's drought, prompting evacuation orders for more than 20,000 homes on the outskirts of San Diego and another 1,200 homes and businesses in Santa Barbara County 250 miles to the north. (AP Photo)
A helicopter drops water on the grounds surrounding one of the luxury homes of the Fairbanks Ranch area where a wild fire threaten homes Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in San Diego. Wildfires pushed by gusty winds chewed through canyons parched by California’s drought, prompting evacuation orders for more than 20,000 homes on the outskirts of San Diego and another 1,200 homes and businesses in Santa Barbara County 250 miles to the north. (AP Photo)
Jack Elkins gestures as he looks at his backyard fruit trees, ravaged by wildfire Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in San Diego. Wildfires pushed by gusty winds chewed through canyons parched by California's drought, prompting evacuation orders for more than 20,000 homes on the outskirts of San Diego and another 1,200 homes and businesses in Santa Barbara County 250 miles to the north. (AP Photo)
Firefighters look on as a helicopter drops water on a wildfire in the Rancho Santa Fe neighborhood Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in San Diego. Wildfires pushed by gusty winds chewed through canyons parched by California's drought, prompting evacuation orders for more than 20,000 homes on the outskirts of San Diego and another 1,200 homes and businesses in Santa Barbara County 250 miles to the north. (AP Photo)
A helicopter drops water on a wildfire in the Rancho Santa Fe neighborhood, Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in San Diego. Wildfires pushed by gusty winds chewed through canyons parched by California's drought, prompting evacuation orders for more than 20,000 homes on the outskirts of San Diego and another 1,200 homes and businesses in Santa Barbara County 250 miles to the north. (AP Photo)
A helicopter drops water on a wildfire in the Rancho Santa Fe neighborhood Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in San Diego. Wildfires pushed by gusty winds chewed through canyons parched by California's drought, prompting evacuation orders for more than 20,000 homes on the outskirts of San Diego and another 1,200 homes and businesses in Santa Barbara County 250 miles to the north. (AP Photo)
Billowing smoke rises from flames as firefighters begin the trek up the hills to battle a wild fire, Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in San Diego. Wildfires destroyed a home and forced the evacuation of several others Tuesday in California as a high-pressure system brought unseasonable heat and gusty winds to a parched state that should be in the middle of its rainy season. (AP Photo)
Billowing smoke rises from flames as firefighters begin the trek up the hills to battle a wild fire, Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in San Diego. Wildfires destroyed a home and forced the evacuation of several others Tuesday in California as a high-pressure system brought unseasonable heat and gusty winds to a parched state that should be in the middle of its rainy season. (AP Photo)
Smoke rises from a canyon where a wild fire is burning Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in San Diego. Wildfires destroyed a home and forced the evacuation of several others Tuesday in California as a high-pressure system brought unseasonable heat and gusty winds to a parched state that should be in the middle of its rainy season. (AP Photo)
A lone tree stands in the path of approaching flames as wild fire burns through a canyon Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in San Diego. Wildfires destroyed a home and forced the evacuation of several others Tuesday in California as a high-pressure system brought unseasonable heat and gusty winds to a parched state that should be in the middle of its rainy season. (AP Photo)
Firefighters face a huge smoke cloud as they plan their attack on a wild fire Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in San Diego. Wildfires destroyed a home and forced the evacuation of several others Tuesday in California as a high-pressure system brought unseasonable heat and gusty winds to a parched state that should be in the middle of its rainy season. (AP Photo)
A helicopter attacks a wild fire burning Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in San Diego. Wildfires destroyed a home and forced the evacuation of several others Tuesday in California as a high-pressure system brought unseasonable heat and gusty winds to a parched state that should be in the middle of its rainy season. (AP Photo)
California firefighters arrive to assist local fire personnel in a battle against a wild fire Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in San Diego. Wildfires destroyed a home and forced the evacuation of several others Tuesday in California as a high-pressure system brought unseasonable heat and gusty winds to a parched state that should be in the middle of its rainy season. (AP Photo)
Firefighters battle a wild fire in the Santa Luz area of San Diego Tuesday, May 13, 2014. Wildfires destroyed a home and forced the evacuation of several others Tuesday in California as a high-pressure system brought unseasonable heat and gusty winds to a parched state that should be in the middle of its rainy season. (AP Photo)
Flames grow as a wild fire burns out-of-control in the north county area of San Diego Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in San Diego. Wildfires destroyed a home and forced the evacuation of several others Tuesday in California as a high-pressure system brought unseasonable heat and gusty winds to a parched state that should be in the middle of its rainy season. (AP Photo)
Firefighters battle a wild fire in the Santa Luz area of San Diego Tuesday, May 13, 2014. Wildfires destroyed a home and forced the evacuation of several others Tuesday in California as a high-pressure system brought unseasonable heat and gusty winds to a parched state that should be in the middle of its rainy season. (AP Photo)
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WEED, Calif. (AP) - Dan Linville and his son were sitting in their living room when they smelled smoke. When they looked outside, they saw a black cloud coming over the hills.

Ten minutes later, a wildfire driven by fierce winds raced through their neighborhood, missing them by three houses and torching a roof across the street.

Officials said the fast-moving fire caught residents in the small town of Weed near the Oregon border off guard and damaged or destroyed 100 homes and a church in this tiny town. At least 1,500 people were forced to flee.

It was among nearly a dozen wildfires burning in California that have been exacerbated by the state's third straight year of drought. The tinder-dry conditions have increased the fire danger around the state significantly and sent firefighters scrambling seemingly nonstop from blaze to blaze.

Two fires, one near Yosemite National Park in central California and another east of Sacramento, also led hundreds of people to evacuate their homes.

In the town of Weed, no deaths or injuries were reported, but the Linvilles figure a quarter of the town burned.

"It's horrible," said Linville, 80. "I've got tears in my heart for all these people that I know who lost their homes."

Fire crews had a handle on the 375-acre fire Tuesday morning after grew little overnight. It was 20 percent contained.

This scenic town of nearly 3,000 near the base of Mount Shasta in the Cascade Mountains had been under siege from the blaze. The fire erupted south of Weed in the afternoon, and winds gusting up to 40 mph pushed it into and around town, where flames mowed through a hillside neighborhood.

The town sawmill caught fire, and a Catholic church was destroyed.

"It ran basically right through the east side of town. At the peak, essentially the entire town was evacuated, but a lot of that has since dropped off," state fire spokesman Robert Foxworthy said.

Blowing embers started spot fires as much as a half-mile ahead of the fire front, and evacuations were called for about 1,500 to 2,000 people, said Allison Giannini, spokeswoman for the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Department.

The winds began to ease late in the day, and the fire's pace slowed. Winds were expected to be calmer on Tuesday.

By nightfall, some houses were burned to their foundation. The fire knocked out power to the area, and people were left wandering the town center with flashlights as the fire glowed up in the hills.

Violet Carter, a freshman at Weed High School, said that when the fire alarm went off, students thought they were shuffling to the campus baseball field for a fire drill.

"We eventually got out there and saw a big cloud of smoke. That whole hill was on fire," she said.

Randy Coates, who rushed to pick up his daughter when the high school evacuated, said he saw the town's Catholic and Presbyterian churches, houses and backyards on fire. Driving by a wood mill, he saw piles of wood chips burning.

Weed, historically a lumber town, was named after the founder of a mill, Abner Weed, who "discovered that the area's strong winds were helpful in drying lumber," according to the town's website.

Meanwhile, firefighters were trying to gain better access to two raging wildfires that broke out Sunday, including one in central California that destroyed 61 structures - 33 of them homes.

The fire near a foothill community south of an entrance to Yosemite National Park burned 320 acres, and was 35 percent contained. About 600 residents from 200 homes remained evacuated, Madera County sheriff's spokeswoman Erica Stuart said.

The fire started off a road outside of Oakhurst, near Yosemite, and spread to Bass Lake, a popular year-round destination. Its cause was under investigation.

Two fire crews returning from 24 hours of fighting the fire got into a crash with a vehicle Monday, state fire spokesman Ryan Michaels said. No firefighter was injured in the crash, but three people in a Nissan that got pinned under a firetruck were sent to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, California Highway Patrol Officer Brad Simpson said.

The blaze is the latest to hit the area, which is still reeling from another fire near downtown Oakhurst that destroyed eight structures earlier this summer.

"I really feel for this community, which has already been through a lot," state fire spokesman Dennis Mathisen said. "This is yet another example of how the damaging effect of this drought has impacted California."

Farther north, a wildfire about 60 miles east of Sacramento forced the evacuation of 133 homes. El Dorado County sheriff's officials said residents of an additional 406 homes were being told to prepare to flee.

More than 1,500 firefighters battled the blaze, which started in a remote area Saturday but exploded Sunday when it reached a canyon full of thick, dry brush. It grew rapidly and had burned through more than 18 square miles as of Tuesday morning. It was only 5 percent contained.


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